March 13, 2024 / Podcasts

The Value of Yearbook Critiques: How Feedback Can Take Your Book to the Next Level with That Yearbook Podcast

Written by Danielle Finch

This episode of “That Yearbook Podcast” discusses the importance of yearbook programs receiving critiques or reviews of their publications. Mike, Jim and Sabrina emphasize how critiques from experienced advisers and journalism professionals can provide objective feedback to help identify strengths and weaknesses, set goals for improvement and ultimately create an even stronger yearbook from year to year.

Getting Feedback Is the Key to Improvement

One of the most important things a yearbook staff can do is get feedback on their book through a critique. Critiques provide valuable insights into what a staff is doing well and areas they could improve. Advisers should encourage their staff to view critiques not as judgments, but as opportunities to learn and grow. With each critique, a staff can refine their skills and create an even stronger book the following year.

Critiques Come From Experienced Reviewers  

Critiques are conducted by experienced yearbook advisers and journalists who know what makes for a quality publication. They look at all aspects of a book, including concept, design, photography writing and more. Reviewers provide detailed feedback using established rubrics to evaluate each area. Their expertise and outside perspective ensure staffs receive objective and well-informed recommendations. Critiques also often include examples from other books to help illustrate best practices.

Start With Local and Work Up to National

For a new staff just beginning to enter critiques, advisers should consider starting with their state’s Scholastic Press Association. Critiques from local reviewers may provide more tailored feedback. Once a staff gains experience, they should aspire to submit their book to national organizations like NSPA or CSPA. The highest-level critiques can help take a book to the next level and better a yearbook staff’s chances for national recognition.

Use Critiques To Improve and Motivate Staff

The real value of critiques lies in how staffs apply feedback to strengthen their book. Advisers should have students thoroughly review critiques to identify one or two key areas to focus on improving each year. Displaying critiques and progress in the classroom can also motivate staff to raise their standards. Striving for excellence based on reviewer insights is the best way for books to continually get better.

Listen to That Yearbook Podcast Now! 

Getting critiques is one of the smartest things a yearbook staff can do. Objective feedback helps programs assess their strengths and weaknesses to guide meaningful growth. With each critique, books have the potential to reach new levels of quality and better serve their school. 

This episode of “That Yearbook Podcast” is a great resource for advisers looking to understand the value of critiques and how to make the most of the feedback. The speakers provide useful advice on starting with local reviews, focusing on improvements each year and leveraging critiques to motivate staff. 

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Danielle Finch

Danielle Finch is a former journalism adviser at Smithville High School and now works as a Digital Marketing Specialist for Walsworth. Danielle's passions lie in writing, managing web content and representing the needs of advisers.